LESS than a fortnight after dramatically clinching the title at Celtic Park, Rangers could have been excused if they had stuck out a reserve side and taken their foot off the gas for this largely meaningless match with Motherwell.
Instead Dick Advocaat fielded a near full-strength side and reaped the benefits as his side cruised to a five-star display.
Gabriel Amato struck a hat-trick in a one-man super show while Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Andrei Kanchelskis also got their names on the scoresheet.
It was a tough afternoon for Andy Goram, so often the Ibrox hero but on this occasion the last line of a Motherwell defence that struggled to contain a rampant Rangers side.
Van Bronckhorst was foiled by The Goalie as early as the sixth minute as his rasping left-foot drive was tipped superbly onto the post.
Jorg Albertz was next to be frustrated by Goram when the German’s scorching 30-yard drive was amazingly beaten away by the in-form keeper.
He kept his best save until the dying minutes when he thwarted substitute Jonatan Johansson.
But by then the damage was done with Amato the man of the moment. His breathtaking skills – especially for his incredible second goal – was hailed by the travelling fans who crammed into Fir Park.
His first strike, on 16 minutes, came courtesy of Andrei Kanchelskis’ fizzing cross. The forward chested it down before thumping a right-footed effort past Goram.
Van Bronckhorst grabbed the second goal of the day on 37 minutes when he played a superb one-two with Rod Wallace before volleying an unstoppable drive past the keeper.
But it was Amato’s day and he bagged a second on 51 minutes, picking up a van Bronckhorst pass just inside Well’s half before jinking his way past three defenders and rounding Goram to ease Rangers into a 3-0 lead.
It meant the Argentine was on a hat-trick and his big moment arrived when Wallace was felled in the box by Stephen Craigan.
Albertz generously handed the ball to Amato and he smashed the ball past Goram for his third and Rangers’ fourth of an increasingly one-sided match.
The champions weren’t finished there though and Kanchelskis pounced on a Steven McMillan mistake to ram home the fifth before Stephen Nicholas’ deflected shot brought Well a late consolation.
Rangers’ dashing performance was the perfect warm-up ahead of the Scottish Cup Final the following week when a Rod Wallace goal earned Gers a 1-0 win over Celtic to complete a remarkable treble.
Rangers: Klos, Porrini, Amoruso, Kanchelskis, van Bronckhorst (Riccio), Amato, Albertz, Wallace, McCann (Johansson), Wilson, Reyna (McInnes)
Motherwell: Goram, McMillan, McGowan, Brannan, Valakari, Gower (Ramsay), McCulloch, Craigan, Adams (Nevin 58), Spencer, Goodman (Nicholas)
Classic Matches Features:
Motherwell 1-5 Rangers
May 15, 1999
Classic Matches Features: